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Ronald Cluett Comments on Church Plan Supreme Court Decision

June 12, 2017, Pensions & Investments

Sponsors of church-related pension plans are celebrating a Supreme Court decision upholding their right to be exempt from federal pension rules, but participant advocates vow to continue challenging them on other legal points and in new venues, including state courts.

. . .

“The court did not decide whether the plans involved in the cases before it are maintained by the type of organization envisioned by Congress when it enacted the law,” said Karen Ferguson, director of the Pension Rights Center in Washington. Justice Elena Kagan's opinion held a footnote that the question of direct association with a church was not before the court.

. . .

“There are a lot of other things that are often significant. Those questions were not before the court and the court did not answer them,” said Ronald Cluett, of counsel to tax law firm Caplin & Drysdale in Washington, who specializes in employee benefits compliance. “I think that the people who did not prevail will seek other ways,” including scrutinizing how closely plan sponsors are affiliated with churches, and how the benefits committees are structured, he said.

For the full article, please visit Pensions & Investments’ website.

Excerpt taken from the article “More Challenges Promised Despite Church-Plan Victory” by Hazel Bradford for Pensions & Investments.

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